Five for Friday on a Saturday

I've been MIA this month due to a little thing called teaching. It's been so intense! So much content to cover in such a short amount of time... but I have to say, I'm so proud of my lil' 3rd graders. They have been working so hard and have grown so much in the last few weeks with some of our skills. Although it STINKS that we have still 2 more days of school before my winter break starts, I'm excited for those 2 days as we'll get to have some fun together! Here's what we've up to to this past week:

Although we are in non-fiction, I changed out our plastic sleeves to put some figurative language posters up. I snagged them for free from Katie Jone's Store. I did have to try to make one for alliteration- it doesn't match perfectly but it's close enough for my OCD!

Currently, we do about 40 minutes of independent reading while I meet with small groups. 25 of that is for our non-fiction books (since that's our genre focus). But I also give 15 minutes for fiction to continue to have them practice reading that genre. At first, they didn't want to put their non-fiction books down! But now that we've been in it for the last 3 weeks, they can't wait to switch back to their fiction books. They've been spotting similes and alliterations left and right! Whenever they find one, they can write it down, with the title and their classroom number and post it on the appropriate poster. This is a little formative piece for me and fun for them! We haven't learned about personifications or hyperboles until this Friday when I just pulled those who wanted to learn what they were up for a small strategy group. Well- almost the entire class came up! It was very impromptu, but it worked for now. We'll see if those posters start collecting any post-its, before we do more practice with them as a whole class!

My morning message for this morning was all about how main idea can be challenging. We used that "chunk of text" as the example for our box and bullet on this chart... killing two birds with one stone!

This is why we've been so busy- we've been trying to learn about main idea and details. We've been trying to break old habits and incorporate some new habits. Ideas and strategies from my co-teacher was helpful this year. She introduced me to the "house" analogy for main idea and details. I kept using the table analogy too as that one is great when discussing the importance of multiple details.  We also really wanted students to get away from main idea statements like "what ___ looks like" and "all about ______." We found the best way to do that was through sentences. So we began hitting how to turn your topic (noun) into a topic sentence (main idea). 

We filled out this main idea guided note sheet during the first week. We didn't do it all at once. We learned what main idea and details were first and each part (main idea, detail, topic). Then we did the graphic organizer. It's not my favorite, but it's the one our curriculum uses. Then we began learning strategies. Want a copy? Snag it here by clicking on the image below (answer key included)

We've been using this graphic organizer then during our independent reading time. They write the topic on the line inside the box and then tell "What about it?" after it to make a complete sentence. To help those who struggle with turning topics into topic sentence main idea thingers, I added some helping verbs. This was SUPER helpful for my students. Obviously some can be created using action verbs, but a lot of the time, helping verbs are "helpful." Also, one tried and true strategy that really helped my students is looking for repeated words and related words in a chunk of text to find what it's mostly talking about. So I added a box at the bottom to help them collect these to reference. They write 3 details by the bullets. Click on this image to snag it also.

I forgot to take a picture, but we also made a rubric that guided students to what I was expecting. We took a district common assessment on this skill on Friday and I think my students were much more prepared this year than last year with these scaffolds.

Our Moose on the Loose is back! This year around- his name is Brownie. He hasn't been as mischievous this year due to lack of time and allergy concerns, but the kids are loving him!

We've talked about the bully circle finally. We used emojis this year to show the different roles people play when bullying is happening. Third grade is the year when they get into the technical names as opposed to just bully, victim, bystanders, and defenders. I do like how Olweus breaks it down to really show all the different roles that are played when someone is being bullied. It helps to educate those who are supporters and disengaged to know the importance of getting help for the victims in some way.

Oops! I finally put up two more parts of speech that we covered a while ago, but I had forgotten to put up. Since putting them up, a few more words have been added. My students love to act like detectives and find examples throughout out day. We also started to notice parts of words (like -ject- and -tion) to help us figure out the meaning of other words we run into thanks to Ladybug's awesome multi-use posters! 

As I said- we still have 2 days left before our winter break. We go allllll the way up until the end of the 23rd at 3:45 pm. I'v got some fun, yet educational activities for Monday and have been getting a little carried away for our "Snow Day" on Tuesday. Stay tuned!


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